Obviously the trip to Spain, and the 10 extra practices, were great for the 8 newcomers. However, the trip may have been even more important for Anton Beard. After the problems following his freshman year, he probably needed the “team bonding” as much as the newcomers. It allowed him to, once again, feel like an integral part of the “TEAM” and regain his confidence.
As good as CJ’s stats were on this trip, Beard’s may have been better. In this 4th game, Beard’s stats were exactly what the Hogs need from him in order to become a great team. It appears he has become the floor leader that 2nd wave of players needed to prevent the drop-off from the starters we experienced last year.
His stats were: 14 pts on 5-8 FGs & 2-3 on 3s, 3 Boards, 6 Assts to 1 TO, & 4 steals, all in 16 minutes of play. He was the team leader in assists for the 4 games with limited minutes.
It looks like the “Freshman” Beard has returned with 2 years of experience.
If I understand the schedule correct, they will be on their own (read: conditioning, playing pick-up, etc.) until mid-September. That’s when coaches can work with players for a couple of hours per week. Then full team practice will begin Sept. 30.